The World in Which We Occur: Earth Metabolisms
Part of The World In Which We Occur Voice Archive
Recorded on Sunday, June 19, 2016, 5:30 pm Museu Coleção Berardo, Lisbon
Speakers: Mi You, Paul N. Edwards, Peter Fend
Peturbations are now common to energy flows in the different spheres of life. What happens when technology rivals nature and uses energy to transform information and materials (data, fossil fuels, solar energy, wind and hydropower) and guide the metabolism of matter? What constitutes its dynamical flow? How have whole cycles within the Biosphere and Technosphere been transformed, deviated, and modified by human extended metabolism? How does contemporary socio-metabolism compare with the current metabolism of the terrestrial biosphere?
The World in Which We Occur is an event series co-led by Margarida Mendes and Jennifer Teets, taking place live over the telephone, and formulated around questions addressed by speakers across the world. Embarking on modern day issues rooted in the history of materiality and flux as well as pertinent politically enmeshed scientific affairs shaping our world today, the series’ premise is one of interrogation and epistemic search. To date, The World in Which We Occur has hosted sessions on the core debates of the Anthropocene, pharmakons (the body and the earth as a remedy and a poison), molecular colonialism in the reign of microorganisms, grief and climate change, and states of reserve and the legality of invisible regimes. It is currently exploring resource fetishism as its primary axis for the Lisbon presentation where it will bring together voices on water politics and earth metabolisms, from the perspective of art, science, law, the humanities, and activism.
Loosely inspired by, and set in the legacy of hybrids growing out of artist James Lee Byars’ 1969 "World Question Centre," The World in Which We Occur underlines the necessity for inquiry over an assertiveness of responses. “Could you offer us a question that you feel is pertinent in regards to your own evolution of knowledge?” asks Byars at the end of the line. The World in Which We Occur unveils incentives or queries as to generate further questions to build upon. It also aims to open up other areas of knowledge and speculation stemming from the core exercise of explicating one’s relationship within the current state of nature, in an era of erratic climatic behaviors. As a curation of voices, each session departs from an assisted dialing room set in an auditorium and is shared with an audience of listeners. The sessions are outsourced in the form of a growing archive.
The speakers recorded in previous sessions include Nabil Ahmed, Carolina Caycedo, Cormac Cullinan, Ashlee Cunsolo Willox, Fran Gallardo, Lori Gruen, Clive Hamilton, Stefan Helmreich, Pedro Neves Marques, Barbara Orland, Joana Rafael, Rory Rowan, Jenna Sutela, Paulo Tavares, Etienne Turpin, Ravi Agarwal, João Camargo, Joyeeta Gupta, Anna Tsing, Kai Bosworth, Stuart McLean.
MI YOU is a Beijing-born writer, curator and associate researcher at Academy of Media Arts Cologne. Her research interests include the history and meta-history of the heartland of Eurasia, philosophy of immanence in both Western and Chinese Neo-Confucian traditions, and philosophy of performance and science and technology. She curates performances and media art, most recently at Asian Culture Center Theater in South Korea and the inaugural Media Art Festival in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia.
PAUL N. EDWARDS is Professor in the School of Information and the Dept. of History at the University of Michigan. He writes and teaches about the history, politics, and culture of knowledge and information infrastructures. His book A Vast Machine: Computer Models, Climate Data, and the Politics of Global Warming (2010) was named a Book of the Year by The Economist magazine in 2010, and received the Louis J. Battan Book Prize of the American Meteorological Society and the Computer History Museum Prize. Before joining the University of Michigan, Edwards taught at Stanford University and Cornell University. He is currently working on a collection of essays under the working title Knowledge Infrastructures for the Anthropocene.
PETER FEND builds an architecture practice based on paradigms from art. The two leading sources are Marcel Duchamp and Joseph Beuys. From one, Fend uses the Fontaine, or Urinal, to systematically map and satellite-monitor the planet in its saltwater basins. From the other, Fend uses earth-art designs to restore wild-animal and wild-plant habitats ("Chief of the Hunters"), and produces energy within a cycle of oxygen-carbon dioxide-methane, in exchanges by animals-plants, bacteria and archaebacteria ("Fat Corner"). Trained in history but aiming to do architecture, Peter Fend discovered in the 1970s a huge movement of artists expanding into our environment, with earth art, motile display of spectral data, lightweight structures, and began displaying what to build in Caltech ( Feb 1978).
JENNIFER TEETS is a curator, writer, researcher, and occasional performer based in Paris. Her research and writing combines inquiry, sciences studies, philosophy, and ficto-critique, and performs as an interrogative springboard for her curatorial practice. She is currently exhibiting Elusive Earths III at Parallel, Oaxaca, Mexico until June 2016.
MARGARIDA MENDES is a curator, writer and activist based in Lisbon/Madrid, where she currently runs the educational platform Escuelita at Centro de Arte dos de Mayo. From 2009-16 she directed the project space The Barber Shop in Lisbon, where she hosted a programme of seminars and residencies dedicated to artistic and philosophical research. She was part of the curatorial team of the 11th Gwangju Biennale, South Korea.
Prototype Session: The Anthropocene
Session 1: The Pharmakon
Session 3: Grief and Climate Change
Session 5: Water Politics
Session 7: The Underground